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This morning, I did the unthinkable: I downgraded my cable television package. My children watch too much television and I can’t really be bothered with parenting them and keeping track of all that. So, good bye Disney Channel! Goodbye, Nickelodeon! Good bye, Cartoon Network! I’ll miss you most of all. And, good bye, Comedy Central – I’ll enjoy your streaming episodes of the Daily Show.

I suppose this is just proof of Calvin’s total depravity.

Really, this was all too easy. I grabbed my laptop, hit “live chat” and let the destruction ensue. I even did the dishes and wrote a blog post while chatting with Rey Carlo. He was even so polite as to type, “That’s good to know. I’m happy you feel that way.” And, he finished the conversation with, “have a blessed weekend.”

This represents a large change around the Fox household. On Monday, the kids go back to school. Three weeks later, I go back to school. Time to buckle down and do some learning. One other reason for the change – I am a patriot and socialism is sin.

P.S. Here is a picture of Jake handling snakes at the men’s retreat. I would have taken more photos but I was busy drinking poison.

jake models true religion

jake models true religion


Thelonious took me to see Prince Caspian today. I have to admit that I thought it was a pretty darn good movie. Of course, like all of C.S. Lewis’ writing, the movie is way better than the book – it was actually entertaining. I’m still waiting for “The Problem of Pain” starring Tom Hanks and an equally annoying actress. But, I digress. The real point here is thatPrince Caspian set a new standard for “Christian” movies.

I already know what you are thinking. But, if it isn’t a Christian movie, why do they advertise, sell, and merchandise it at Christian bookstores?

Apparently, Christian movies don’t have to have ANYTHING to do with following Jesus or kingdom values any more. Sure, Prince Caspian did communicate important moral values – such as women should always wear dresses (even while surrounded by blood thirsty enemies in the middle of a medieval battlefield). There was also the valuable lesson of how to determine good from evil – evil has dark hair and eyes and speaks with an accent. And, maybe most importantly, I also learned that even just looking like Keanu Reeves can make you a bad actor.

Seriously. I’ve played games of Dungeon & Dragons that had more Christian values than that movie! At least Üdo the 5th level half-orc cleric/fighter actually got punished for senseless violence by his deity – and it was chaotic neutral!!!! Wait. What does D&D have to do with religion? Oh ya, the apostles decided who would replace Judas by rolling a 12 sided die.

Erika and I watched King of Kong last night and it was disturbingly good. I had first gotten the hot tip on the movie from Doug, purveyor of all things bizarrely pop culture. He is the one who turned me on to the fact that the earth is hollow and their is an ancient alien civilization living at the earth’s core and for only $18,950 you, too, could sponsor AND crew the Russian IceBreaker YAMAL on a journey to the core of this hollow earth. With credentials like that, I usually jump all over anything Doug suggests. But, for some unknown reason, this documentary about competitive classic video gamers never made it’s way into my DVD player. Then, the librarian in the family blogged about it and I knew it was time to add it to my NetFlix queue (true, I cancelled NetFlix in favor of Blockbuster Online – but, I am embarrassed about this fact and insist on referring to my Blockbuster Online account as my “NetFlix”).

The film uncovers one of the most bizarre subcultures I have ever been witness to – magically humanizing the (usually more than) slightly “unique” participants in this classic tale of a little guy with stubby legs taking on the giant ape shaped establishment.

While watching Scooby Doo: The Fast and the Wormious, I noticed some rather clever punk rock during one of the chase montages. The thing that caught my attention was that the lyrics were in Spanish. You have to understand, I’ve been a big fan of the Mexican punk rock ever since the Plugz made an appearance on the Repo Man soundtrack in 1984. But, it can really create a conundrum when you like the Mexican punk rock, but you don’t speak Spanish or live in Mexico. How does one discover new underground bands from a third world country when one doesn’t speak the native language? What was I to do? Walk into my local Mexican grocery store and say, “Hola. El punk rocko?”

So, I’ve spent the last 20 years trying to discover Mexican punk rock. Then, via Scobby Doo, I discovered Los Miserables. I was tempted to get in my car right that second and drive down to Silver Platters and order the import for $45. Seriously. Don’t tell Erika, but I once spent $50 for a record by a couple of female Japanese art school students called Kiiiiiiii. I had stumbled upon a video on YouTube and simply had to have the whole record. But, I digress. I decided spending $45 for a record that the band would probably make 74 cents on – well, that’s just not right. Luckily, I was able to order it online for $8.99. I love the internets.

I have no idea what Los Miserables is singing about. I kinda like it that way. I have convinced myself that the lyrics are so revolutionary, they had to invent a whole other language just to sneak ’em passed the powers that be. Now that is punk rock.

¡viva los miserables!

I admit it, I watch a lot of cartoons. And, before you start judging me – they are no less mature than reality tv, so there. The other night, I was trying to convince my kids to watch “Doomsday: the Death of Superman” (again) and they moaned and whined – “we just wanna watch regular cartoons.” OK, OK, lets see what’s on Tivo. Surprise, surprise, there were a couple of new episodes of “Chop Socky Chooks.” (does the period go before or after the closing quotation mark? I never get that right. In this case, common sense tells me that it should go after the quotation mark, unlike a sentence of dialogue where it would go before the quotation mark. But, grammar doesn’t make any sense, it’s just a bunch of rules my cruel 7th grade teacher, Miss Fulcomer, forced me to learn.)

Chop Socky Chooks is one of the rare cartoons that everyone in the family truly enjoys. Why? What makes a “quality” cartoon?

  1. Opening Sequence/Theme Song
    I won’t watch a show unless the theme song is worthy of being added to my iTunes (a la Teen Titans or Spiderman) or the opening sequence inspires me to acts of super heroic do-gooding and/or acrobatic feats of violence (a la Justice League or Avatar)
  2. Animation Style
    The Chooks have that sick computer generated style that makes them look like real live claymation (think Rankin & Bass classics). Jimmy Neutron the TV show tried to pull this off but kinda failed – but, props to them for including a robot dog with a visible brain!
  3. Multiple Levels of Meaning (including the subversive)
    Ya, I know “Super Friends: Challenge of the Super Friends” worked on one level and one level only but it still kicks ass! It’s Ione’s favorite. Anyways… and, here we get to the meat of this post:

The subversive messages in Chop Socky Chooks
FIRST, the bad guy owns a MALL! Dr. Wasabi’s evil empire is a shopping mall!!! Secondly, none of the heroes are white males. Thirdly, Chuckie Chan’s study and devotion to the martial art of “Kung Pao” compels him to fight for the oppressed and against injustice. And, finally, Karmagatchas!

In the last episode I watched, the evil Dr. Wasabi had created the had-to-have-Christmas-time-cute-furry-craze: the Karmagatchas. Sadly, Chuckie was reduced to taking a job as one of Santa’s elves selling the Karmagatchas because “being the sensei of the dojo is fully rewarding in all ways except monetarily” (ohhhh, the call to ministry). Turns out the Karmagatchas are evil little toys that suck out a persons good karma by hugging them. How’s that for a subversive anti-consumerist message?

Naturally, my kids missed this message because they were busy trying to work out a trade for Ione’s new Pokémon card which is so damn cute (and shiny!) that Thelonious is nearly willing to trade a level EX card just to get his grimy lil hands on it. I missed the message because I was obsessing over how to get my collection of Justice League Unlimited figures to actually stand up [see the future post: Damn You, Skinny Ankled Action Figures!!! (or, Why Unbalanced Action Figures Are From the Devil)]. And, poor Erika. She missed the message because she had passed out from a hard day’s work of making money so the other three of us could spend it on cute-furry-gotta-have-its.

PS: I realize that Chop Sooky Chooks has come under criticism for over-simplifying and stereotyping Asian culture. To any reader whom I have offended, I sincerely apologize